How many white wine brands can you think of? Familiar and recognisable brands provide reassurance for people buying wine, but the notion of wine brands can sometimes upset wine purists (read: snobs). We’re going to talk a little bit about why you don’t hear more about white wine brands, and then pick out three of the best brands that a) you’re sure to love, b) won’t cost you a fortune and c) prove the value of branding in wine.
The “controversy” of wine brands
The idea of branding (or marketing in general) is sometimes frowned upon by wine producers. There’s a stigma attached to it. It sounds a bit too commercial and businesslike for the great châteaux of Bordeaux and bodegas of Ribera del Duero. They’re farmers after all, right? Most “serious” winemakers will tell you that they are selling a natural product with a sense of place (they might even say “terroir“), and not a “brand” at all.
The truth is that branding is huge in wine. It’s absolutely crucial, especially at the very high end. Château Mouton Rothschild, at hundreds of euro per bottle, is just as much a “brand” as supermarket stalwart Mouton Cadet. Château Haut-Brion is a brand, Vega Sicilia is a brand… Shall we go on?
Like it or not, wine brands are important, and white wine brands doubly so. Many of the most casual wine drinkers are those that simply pick up a bottle of white wine now and again, and here is where branding matters most.
What great white wine brands have in common
If you’re reading this blog, let’s assume that you’re at least interested in wine, and more likely you’re a wine lover. It’s important to remember (and too easy to forget) that most people out there have a passing interest in wine at best. They don’t know much about wine, and they don’t need to know much about wine. They don’t care, frankly. Wine brands help these disinterested people to pick out a bottle and get on with their day.
Great white wine brands have a few things in common, thankfully.
They have an identity
This could be the region from which they’ve come, the owner or founder’s name, the winemaker’s name or something else entirely. Whatever it is, good wine brands are self-aware, know who they are and everything they do is consistent with that identity.
They offer value
Value doesn’t necessarily mean low price. A good wine brand will sink or swim on repeat business and word of mouth. If it develops a reputation for overperforming, it’s golden – if it costs you less than you’d happily pay, it’s good value. Conversely, if you find it overpriced, you’re probably not going to buy it again – and you probably are going to tell your friends about it. Ultimately, though…
They taste good
Simple as that. A €3 white wine brand from the supermarket may not have the complexity or nuance of Château Haut-Brion Blanc, but if it doesn’t taste good, it’s not going to survive long.
So that’s what makes for good white wine brands. Put it to the test with one of our three favourites.
3 great white wine brands
Torres Viña Sol
One of Spain’s leading white wine brands, Viña Sol is a hugely accessible white blend from the Penedès region. Fresh fruit flavours and relatively gentle alcohol make this a go-to white for many. Superstar producer Miguel Torres knows a thing or two about branding, and Viña Sol always delivers the goods.
Buy Torres Viña Sol 2016 here.
Ramón Bilbao Verdejo
One of Spain’s best-known producers, the Ramón Bilbao brand is very strong internationally. It’s got a deep sense of identity and offers great value for money. Ramón Bilbao Verdejo is one of its most popular white wine brands, a 100% Verdejo wine from the Rueda region. This is racy, aromatic and more-ish.
Buy Ramón Bilbao Verdejo 2016 here.
Paco & Lola
Visually one of Spain’s most distinctive white wine brands, Paco & Lola Albariño is proof positive that branding works in wine. Instantly recognisable for its polka dot design, the wine itself is highly aromatic, fresh and fruity, encapsulating everything that makes the Rías Baixas region so popular. Beyond the region’s generic popularity, the Paco & Lola brand has forged its own clear identity, and has become a reference point for many white wine drinkers.
Buy Paco & Lola 2016 here.